Best Croatia Books

recommended by Sasha King

  • 1

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    The Bridge Over The Drina
    by Ivo Andric

    Epic chronicle of the history of a bridge in Visegrad in Bosnia. Andric uses the tale of the bridge to chart the political and social fortunes of Bosnia over four centuries. Andric was a Bosnian Croat, who lived much of his life in Belgrade. He won the nobel prize for literature in 1961 and, as a young man, was as friend of Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Franz Ferdinand. You can’t understand Croatia without knowing something about the neighbourhood. This is a good place to start.

  • 2

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    Osmi Povjerenik (The Eighth Commissioner)
    by Renato Baretic

    Hilarious satire on Croatian politics and society. A sybaritic politician, to avoid scandal in Zagreb, is sent to run a far flung island in the Adriatic. The largely elderly locals are infuriatingly immune to any political initiatives that might change their lives. Made into a film by Ivan Salaj in 2017.

  • 3

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    Hrvatska Kuharica
    by Nikica Gamulin (known as Gama)

    Great book of Croatian recipes by legendary Croatian cook. His daughters run a restaurant in Split, Villa Spiza.

  • 4

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    What's a Man without a Moustache? (Sto je Muskarac Bez Brkova)
    by Ante Tomic

    Another satire on Croatian politics and society. Set during the period of the war of independence (1991-95), it tells the story of a widow who returns from living in Germany to the Croatian village where she grew up. She becomes unexpectedly rich and falls in love with a priest. Moral complications and painful choices ensue. Made into a film in 2005, directed by Hrvoje Hribar.

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    You with Hands More Innocent: Selected Poems of Vesna Parun
    by Vesna Parun

    Parun is widely regarded as one of the greatest Croatian poets of the 20th century (she died in 2010). This is a selection of her verse in Croatian with English translation.

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